WASHINGTON–Sales by U.S. retailers posted a month-to-month increase of 0.4 percent in August, reaching $363.7 billion on an adjusted basis.
That total also marked a 3.6 percent rise from August 2009. A look at the sales performance among retail channels presented a mixed bag, with department stores (excluding leased departments) increasing sales by 0.4 percent from the July total but reporting a reduction of 1.2 percent in sales from August of last year. Furniture and home-furnishings stores’ sales slipped 0.5 percent from July, but were 2.4 percent ahead of last year’s August figure.
Commenting on the somewhat positive overall picture from last month, the National Retail Federation said the back-to-school shopping season provided a boost for the industry. Retailers undertook aggressive promotions, and along with several state sales-tax holidays, this helped push traffic through the stores.
“Most Americans are in a much better financial position than a year ago, but they are still spending cautiously, looking for bargains and comparing prices before buying,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of NRF. “After leveraging aggressive promotions to bring in back-to-school shoppers, retailers are putting the finishing touches on promotions and pricing for the upcoming holiday season.”